Jamaica Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/ JamaicaObserver.com, the most concise and in-depth website for news coverage on Jamaica and the Caribbean. Updated daily 7 days a week, 24 hours a day en-us copyright Jamaica Observer, 2011 Hot-N-Ready meets Mardi Gras http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Hot-N-Ready-meets-Mardi-Gras_86809 The spirit of Hot-N-Ready Meets Mardi Gras was alive on Monday afternoon when Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Little Caesars Pizza celebrated the grand opening of a new location in Manor Centre.<br /> <br /> Though the doors may have opened for business in December 2016, Restaurant Associates Limited decided on a grand opening on January 16, 2017, to commemorate the occasion with its customers, stakeholders and partners. <br /> <br /> The festivities kicked off with a performance from the Ashe Company performing a medley of songs while incorporating the Popeye&rsquo;s/Little Caesars Pizza brand.<br /> <br /> Brand Manager, Little Caesars and Popeyes Richard Dunn spoke on the theme &lsquo;Little Ceasars Pizza meets Mardi Gras&rsquo;. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s Hot-N-Ready; that means no wait, no call, no line. You come in and get it.&rdquo; The experience was described as unique and efficient in every way. <br /> <br /> He also spoke to Popeyes&rsquo; bold and unique flavour that resonates with customers. <br /> <br /> Restaurant Associates Limited Group CEO Richard Lake, who addressed the gathering on behalf of his company, spoke on the expansion of the brand. &ldquo; We have great plans to open at least 10 stores for the combined brand; not together, but individually. The brand will create employment for almost 300 people and we are very proud of that,&rdquo; he noted. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13581636/253008_79884_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, January 19, 2017 12:00 AM Chefs to watch 2017 - A Taste of Couples http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Chefs-to-watch-2017---A-Taste-of-Couples_86323 Thursday Food spotlights five more chefs who are charged with introducing visitors and locals alike to the best culinary offerings. <br /> <br /> Errol Sewell, pastry chef, Couples Negril<br /> <br /> A young, inspiring 32-year-old pastry chef who hails from Lime Hall, St Ann, Sewell&rsquo;s passion for pastry comes from his mother, who always baked Christmas and wedding cakes and would reward him with his own cake after helping with the preparations. Upon leaving the Marcus Garvey Technical High School where he majored in home economics, Sewell worked at the Franklyn D Resort for about three years as the baker and then ventured to Runaway Bay HEART Culinary College for one year where he received medals for various pastry competitions.<br /> <br /> Desirous of learning more, he got an opportunity to work with the JW Marriott & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona for six years as a pastry team leader, where he learned the art of pastillage and French pastries. In 2011, he joined Couples Resorts as a pastry team leader and was recently promoted to the position of pastry chef of Couples Negril, where he continues to train younger chefs in the field. <br /> <br /> Cleona Richards Campbell, pastry chef, Couples Swept Away<br /> <br /> Cleona Richards Campbell was born in Kingston, but would travel to Westmoreland with her sister Nicole (now deceased) to spend holidays with their grandmother who had a passion for baking. Campbell credits her grandmother for her foray into baking.<br /> <br /> Her foot through the door at Couples Negril landed her in the housekeeping department. Campbell began cross-training in the pastry department, where she displayed such passion, willingness and determination that she was transferred permanently, and has never looked back. In 2007, she was transferred to Couples Swept Away, where she was promoted to the position of pastry chef in 2012.<br /> <br /> Over the years, Richards-Campbell has entered several competitions, winning many awards. She received additional training in Canada at the George Brown College. She credits her success to her own hard work and motivation, her hard-working staff, and the mentorship she received from Corporate Executive Chef, Stefan Spath, who she says believed in her from the start. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Valentine McKenzie, executive chef Couples Tower Isle<br /> <br /> McKenzie&rsquo;s culinary journey started at the age of 10; there wasn&rsquo;t much of a choice. His father was working abroad while his mother worked six days a week. Sundays would find him in the kitchen making meals for the family. He soon realised that he had found his calling.<br /> <br /> Born in 1973, McKenzie was raised in Ocho Rios and started his career at the Shaw Park Beach Hotel, moving on to the Boscobel Beach Hotel and then the Sans Souci Hotel, where he was once again promoted. He reached the position of acting executive chef/executive sous-chef when the hotel was rebranded Couples Sans Souci. <br /> <br /> As a result of his strong management skills and his incredible passion for food, he was promoted to the position of executive chef at Couples Tower Isle in 2012. &ldquo;What really sets McKenzie apart from his peers is his excellent understanding of flavour combinations, which makes every dish superlative,&rdquo; states corporate executive chef at Couples Resorts, Stefan Spath, who added: &ldquo;His food is constantly changing, as he is always exploring new territories in the world of cuisine and is never afraid to take a risk as he keeps up with new trends.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Tyrone Jackson, executive sous chef, Couples Negril<br /> <br /> Tyrone Jackson was born in Cold Spring, Hanover, but moved to Negril to live with his spiritual grandmother at a young age. There, he spent much of his time in the kitchen, helping her to prepare meals. Her son, Daniel Grizzle, noticed Jackson&rsquo;s enthusiasm for cooking and encouraged his passion by having him work with the chefs at his hotel, Charela Inn, in Negril, during the holidays. Sylvia Grizzle, an expert in French cuisine, once told him that the most important thing about cooking is the taste; her early advice has never left him. <br /> <br /> Jackson joined the Couples Swept Away family in 1998 as a temporary cook in the staff canteen. He was transferred within months to the gourmet restaurant, where he learned the fundamentals of food preparation. <br /> <br /> His culinary skills were further honed in the USA. <br /> <br /> Upon returning to the Group he was made team leader in the Feathers Restaurant, where he excelled.<br /> <br /> Stints followed at Couples Negril, where he was promoted to the position of sous-chef and, after four years, executive sous-chef. He works closely with the executive chef in menu planning and training of team members.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;One of my passions is giving personalised service to our guests, especially those with special dietary needs. I like utilising fresh ingredients straight from the farm,&rdquo; states Jackson.<br /> <br /> Chef Morice Lewis, executive chef Couples Sans Souci<br /> <br /> Lewis has been working with Couples Resorts since 2002 after gaining culinary experience in several Caribbean islands. He returned to Couples in 2007 as executive sous-chef at Couples Negril and was then transferred to Couples Swept Away and eventually promoted to executive chef at Couples Sans Souci in 2012.<br /> <br /> Born and raised in Grange Hill, Westmoreland, Lewis is a passionate and driven chef who takes great pride in training and mentoring younger professionals in the field. He recently became a member of the Chaine des Rotisseurs and has hosted several of its events. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is my goal to make my guests happy,&rdquo; states Lewis. &ldquo;As a perfectionist, I strive to achieve this at all times.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13582078/252222_79910_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, January 19, 2017 12:00 AM Coming Soon&hellip; Whitebones Seafood Express http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Coming-Soon--Whitebones-Seafood-Express_86395 Whitebones Seafood Restaurant, which is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Richard and Jacqueline Elliott and located at 1 Mannings Hill Road, Mary Brown&rsquo;s Corner, opened on February 6, 2006.<br /> <br /> A decade later the couple has, as a result of customer demand, sought a second location. Thursday Food shares more&hellip;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are,&rdquo; shared Jacqueline Elliott, &ldquo; opening an additional outlet at 10 Altamont Crescent. This, to meet the seafood demands for lunch of our loyal corporate and New Kingston customers.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It will open as Whitebones Seafood Express and offer takeout or delivery service.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Plans are in place for a soft launch on Monday, January 30, 2017.<br /> <br /> Opening hours thereafter will be Mondays - Fridays 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.<br /> <br /> And what can patrons look forward to?<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Existing patrons and new ones,&rdquo; said Elliott, &ldquo;can enjoy our delectable lunch menu offerings at our new and central location. On the menu will be soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, lasagne, fish, shrimp, pastas, vegetarian, and much more&hellip; which will be available for takeout and/or delivery.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> With their best seller &mdash; you guessed it, fish &mdash; prepared a myriad ways, like in a curry coconut sauce, steamed and/ or roasted, pastas and shrimp dishes are also in high demand.<br /> <br /> Reckon on an average lunch spend of between $500.00 to $1,200.00.<br /> <br /> Editor&rsquo;s Note: Whitebones Seafood Restaurant also offers vegetarian plates, surf and turf and chicken and lamb. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13581607/252340_79845_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, January 19, 2017 12:00 AM Recipe Corner... with Jessica Hylton http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Recipe-Corner-----Jessica-Hylton_85600 Our award-winning food blogger and attorney-at-law Jessica Hylton shares a few tasty options for 2017<br /> <br /> FLOURLESS APPLE PIE PANCAKES<br /> <br /> These Flourless Apple Pie Pancakes are only 100 calories, made with ground oats, filled with delicious caramelised apples and are so healthy and easy to make!<br /> <br /> Makes 7-8 <br /> <br /> Prep Time: 8 min<br /> <br /> Cook Time: 10 min<br /> <br /> Total Time: 18 min<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1&Acirc;&frac14; cups oat &ldquo;flour&rdquo; (or oats ground in a food processor or in a coffee grinder)<br /> <br /> 1 large egg<br /> <br /> 1 teaspoon baking powder<br /> <br /> &Acirc;&frac12; teaspoon baking soda<br /> <br /> &Acirc;&frac12; teaspoon salt<br /> <br /> 1 tablespoon raw honey<br /> <br /> 1 cup almond milk<br /> <br /> 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt <br /> <br /> 1 teaspoon cinnamon<br /> <br /> 1 apple, sliced<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> In a large bowl, add the oat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.<br /> <br /> Add the remaining pancake ingredients, except the apple, and whisk until just combined.<br /> <br /> Heat a griddle pan or a cast iron skillet over medium heat and grease with oil or cooking spray.<br /> <br /> Pour the batter into a liquid measuring cup, then pour about &Acirc;&frac14; cup&rsquo;s worth for one pancake. Wait until some bubbles start to form and then add a few apple slices on top. Allow to cook for 2 more minutes and then flip the pancakes over. Cook for about 3 more minutes until batter is cooked through.<br /> <br /> Serve pancakes hot and drizzle honey on top and some caramelised apples.<br /> <br /> Chef&rsquo;s Note: This recipe is gluten free.<br /> <br /> TO MAKE IT VEGAN: <br /> <br /> You can use a flax egg or a banana to replace the egg, maple syrup instead of honey, and coconut cream or vegan yogurt instead of the Greek yogurt.<br /> <br /> HOW TO STORE &ndash; FRIDGE & FREEZER: <br /> <br /> Store these pancakes stacked with wax or parchment paper in- between each one in an airtight Tupperware container in the fridge. If freezing, store them in a freezer-safe zipped bag with wax or parchment paper in-between each other. Store them flat to freeze. They last very long in the freezer! <br /> <br /> VARIATIONS: <br /> <br /> You can use pears or even plums in place of the apples.<br /> <br /> CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY BAKED OATMEAL CUPS<br /> <br /> These Chocolate Raspberry Baked Oatmeal Cups are perfect for busy mornings! They taste like chewy, delicious oatmeal cookies and are gluten free!<br /> <br /> Makes 12<br /> <br /> Prep Time: 10<br /> <br /> Cook Time: 20<br /> <br /> Total Time: 30<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 3 cups old fashioned oats (GF certified oats)<br /> <br /> 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder<br /> <br /> 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon<br /> <br /> 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg<br /> <br /> 1/2 teaspoon salt<br /> <br /> 1 1/2 cups Silk &Acirc;&reg; Original Almondmilk<br /> <br /> 1/4 cup natural peanut butter<br /> <br /> 1/3 cup maple syrup<br /> <br /> 1/2 tsp vanilla extract<br /> <br /> 1 flax egg<br /> <br /> 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen<br /> <br /> 1/4 cup chopped walnuts<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> 1 Preheat the oven to 350&Acirc;&deg;F.<br /> <br /> 2 Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.<br /> <br /> 3 Combine the oats, unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl, Using a wooden spoon, mix all the ingredients together.<br /> <br /> 4 Add in the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract and the flax egg. Stir together to combine, pouring in the Silk &Acirc;&reg; Original Almondmilk as you stir. Fold in the raspberries and the walnuts.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> 5 Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the mixture into each muffin cup until all 12 are equally filled.<br /> <br /> 6 Bake for 30 minutes. They should slightly spring back to the touch.<br /> <br /> 7 Allow to cool for 5 minutes then, running a knife around the edges of each cup, remove and place each on a cooling rack to cool completely.<br /> <br /> 8 Enjoy!<br /> <br /> Chef&rsquo;s Notes:<br /> <br /> 1 flax egg is 1 tablespoon flax meal plus 3 tablespoons water. Mix it together and place in the freezer to set up for 5 to 10 minutes.<br /> <br /> If using frozen raspberries, do not thaw them.<br /> <br /> These taste great fresh out of the oven after cooling. To warm them up from being stored in the fridge, you can microwave them for about 30-45 seconds (err on the lower side and increase to your taste).<br /> <br /> You can top these with coconut whipped cream, fresh fruits, desiccated coconut, dairy-free chocolate chips or my vegan raspberry compote.<br /> <br /> Store muffins in an airtight container in the fridge.<br /> <br /> No Bake BROWNIE ENERGY BITES<br /> <br /> These No Bake Brownie Energy Bites are made with only 5 ingredients, vegan and gluten-free and are a perfect quick, healthy breakfast or snack!<br /> <br /> Serves 16-20<br /> <br /> Prep Time: 10 min<br /> <br /> Total Time: 10 min<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1/2 cup walnuts<br /> <br /> 1/2 cup almonds<br /> <br /> 1 cup dates (Medjool or regular), chopped<br /> <br /> 1/3 cup + 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder<br /> <br /> 1/2 cup shredded coconut flakes<br /> <br /> Pinch salt<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> 1 Grind the walnuts and almonds in a food processor, until a dough starts to form. Add the dates, cocoa powder, 1/4 cup shredded coconut flakes and salt and process until incorporated and the mixture begins to turn into a dough.<br /> <br /> 2 Roll the mixture into round balls using the help of saran wrap (wrap it around the bites to form a circle), until all the mixture is finished.<br /> <br /> 3 Roll the balls in the last _ cup shredded coconut flakes.<br /> <br /> 4 Place in the fridge for at least an hour, then enjoy!<br /> <br /> Notes<br /> <br /> This recipe is raw, gluten free and vegan.<br /> <br /> HOW TO STORE <br /> <br /> You can store these brownie bites in the fridge in a zipped bag or air tight Tupperware container for at least three weeks if the dates are fresh.<br /> <br /> NO BAKE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER ENERGY BITES<br /> <br /> Serves 16-20<br /> <br /> Prep Time: 10 <br /> <br /> Total Time: 10<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1/2 cup old fashioned oats<br /> <br /> 1 cup dates, chopped<br /> <br /> 1/2 cup peanut butter<br /> <br /> 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut flakes<br /> <br /> 1/3 cup cocoa/cacao powder<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> 1 Grind the oats and dates in a food processor, until a paste starts to form. Add the peanut butter, coconut flakes and cocoa powder, and mix until incorporated and the mixture begins to turn into a dough. It should be slightly sticky and very thick.<br /> <br /> 2 Roll the mixture into round balls using the help of saran wrap (wrap it around the bites to form a circle), until all the mixture is finished. I use a tablespoon cookie scoop to help also.<br /> <br /> 3 Place in the fridge for at least an hour to set, then enjoy!<br /> <br /> Notes<br /> <br /> This recipe is raw, gluten free and vegan.<br /> <br /> HOW TO STORE <br /> <br /> You can store these brownie bites in the fridge in a zipped bag or airtight Tupperware container for at least three weeks if the dates are fresh.<br /> <br /> HOW TO FREEZE <br /> <br /> These bites are great for breakfast, snacks in lunch kits and freeze very well. Just place them in a freezer-safe Ziplock bag until ready to use. Thaw on the counter for 30 minutes or in the fridge until ready to use.<br /> <br /> CREAMY COCONUT SPINACH AND MUSHROOM QUINOA<br /> <br /> This Creamy Coconut Spinach and Mushroom Quinoa is a delicious 30-minute dish that is incredibly nutritious with 7 servings of vegetables!<br /> <br /> Makes 6<br /> <br /> Prep Time: 15 min<br /> <br /> Cook Time: 15<br /> <br /> Total Time: 30 min<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 3 cups cooked quinoa<br /> <br /> 1 clove garlic, minced<br /> <br /> 1 tablespoon olive oil<br /> <br /> 2 cups chopped raw mushrooms<br /> <br /> Salt & pepper to taste<br /> <br /> 3 cloves garlic, minced<br /> <br /> 3 cups raw spinach<br /> <br /> 2 tablespoons coconut milk<br /> <br /> Lime, to squeeze over dish<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> 1 Cook quinoa, adding one clove of the garlic to the mixture.<br /> <br /> 2 While the quinoa is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Remember to remove quinoa from heat after cooking for 15 minutes.<br /> <br /> 3 Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan and stir together, coating. Season with fresh sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.<br /> <br /> 4 Allow the mushrooms to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and softer.<br /> <br /> 5 Lower the heat to medium and add in the garlic and stir with the mushrooms, for about 5 minutes.<br /> <br /> 6 Add the spinach and the coconut milk to the mushroom mixture and stir. Cover with the lid and allow to cook for another 3 minutes until spinach becomes wilted. Remove lid and stir to combine everything. Season with more salt and pepper to taste if necessary.<br /> <br /> 7 Add the quinoa to the pan and stir everything together until combined.<br /> <br /> 8 Serve immediately with a wedge of lime to squeeze over the top. Enjoy!<br /> <br /> Notes<br /> <br /> 1 This recipe is vegan and gluten free. <br /> <br /> 2 You can add even more spinach and mushroom if you so desire to the dish. I used baby bella mushrooms, but you can use any variation that you want, bearing in mind a possible change in cook time.<br /> <br /> HOW TO STORE QUINOA<br /> <br /> After the dish has cooled completely, transfer to an air-tight tupperware container. Place in the fridge and store for 3-4 days.<br /> <br /> HOW TO FREEZE QUINOA<br /> <br /> If freezing, store as above, and then place in the freezer, or in a freezer friendly-zipper plastic bag. Remove from the freezer when needed and reheat in a pan until thawed.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13582974/229604.jpg Local Food Thursday, January 19, 2017 3:00 AM To Drink or to Learn about the Drink, that is the question! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/To-Drink-or-to-Learn-about-the-Drink--that-is-the-question-_86806 Wine is art; wine is a drink. Some try to make wine simple, but wine is really very complicated. Wine is ever-changing, wine is fun, wine is ever-expanding with hundreds of new products released weekly around the globe. Wine is history, wine is geography, wine is culture, wine is travel, wine is tradition, but there is a renewal of sorts annually with every new vintage. It is against this backdrop that understanding just a bit more about wine can exponentially increase your enjoyment of this elixir of the gods.<br /> <br /> Three more reasons <br /> <br /> Better Networking &mdash; While there is nothing wrong with a lone contemplative sip every now and then, wine is a social drink best enjoyed with friends and family. The ability to hold an informative wine-centred conversation can open doors in ways most folks will not understand. When my wife and I migrated to the USA some 17 years ago, I noticed that many of my Jamaican friends only socialised with other Jamaicans. My network expanded very quickly and widely as my wine education progressed; we quickly developed a wide international group of wine lovers with whom we would attend most of the wine events in South Florida. I have travelled extensively in the wine world as a result of these relationships built around wine. <br /> <br /> Expansion of your palate &mdash; This past week I struck up a conversation at a small dinner party where I was asked about the selections at the bar. After making some recommendations, I had to explain that over the past 15 years I have just about tried every wine that is imported here. As a result, I am now able to speak with some confidence about the style and taste of a wine by simply glancing at the bottle. Passion for the topic and a desire to learn will lead to an ever-expanding palate. <br /> <br /> Increased wine &ndash; buying confidence &mdash; <br /> <br /> Most people have no idea what wine to order at a restaurant or what wine to buy at the supermarket. Learning the essentials of wine will greatly reduce the doubts and will increase your confidence in either of these situations. Wine education will help you to understand that not all wines are created equal. Have you ever heard someone say that they only drink Merlot or that they don&rsquo;t drink Chardonnay? You will also have some appreciation of the vast difference in prices of wines in the market. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t like whiny and cheesy people, but I do like wine and cheese people!&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &mdash; Anonymous<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13581669/253003_79844_repro_w300.jpg Local Lifestyle Thursday, January 19, 2017 12:00 AM CHEFS TO WATCH FOR 2017 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/CHEFS-TO-WATCH-FOR-2017_85907 As we count down to our 19th staging of the Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards slated for Thursday, May 25, 2017 we shed light on those charged with promoting our cuisine to the visitors to our shores. We started with Sandals Resorts International and continue this week in the kitchens of the Half Moon Hotel.<br /> <br /> (PHOTOGRAPHER ACEION CUNNINGHAM) <br /> <br /> Cosimo Riccardi &mdash; Chef de Cuisine, Il Giardino Restaurant at Half Moon <br /> <br /> Chef Cosimo Riccardi, currently chef de cuisine of Half Moon&rsquo;s Italian restaurant, Il Giardino, has 13 years of experience in the restaurant industry. His journey started in the UK as chef gardemanger before making his way to Italy working in two-star Michelin-rated restaurants. <br /> <br /> During his tenure at Il Giardino, Riccardi has introduced dishes with influences from Naples, Italy and has made use of the natural herbs in the herb garden at Half Moon, as well as fresh and seasonal vegetables found in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Christopher Golding, Chef De Cuisine, Sugar Mill Restaurant<br /> <br /> Golding studied home economics in high school before venturing into the kitchen of the Wyndham Hotel as an apprentice. Further practical skills were honed at the Sans Souci Resort. Enrolling at the Hocking Technical College in Ohio, US, the Caribbean Training Institute and the HEART Academy in Runaway Bay afforded him the necessary credentials. It wasn&rsquo;t long before his yearning for adventure took hold and Golding found himself aboard the Premier Cruise Lines, where he spent five years as chef de partie, and later as its sous chef.<br /> <br /> In addition to working with the Premier Cruise Lines as a chef de partie and sous chef, Golding also worked at the now-defunct The Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall Resort & Spa in St James for eight years as chef de partie, assistant sous chef and sous chef. He joined Half Moon in 2008 as sous chef for the resort&rsquo;s seaside restaurant, Seagrape Terrace.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Rudolph Bailey, Sous Chef, Seagrape Terrace Restaurant<br /> <br /> Rudolph Bailey brings with him 19 years of experience in the culinary arts. Having been trained at the HEART vocational centre in Trelawny, Bailey accepted his first job at a guest house in Fairfield, St James preparing meals for the small number of guests who would stay there. Before taking up the sous chef position at the Seagrape Terrace, he worked at the Sugar Mill Restaurant - awarded the Norma Shirley Restaurant of the Year in 2016 at the<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards. <br /> <br /> Over the years, Bailey has developed a love for spices such as cilantro and tarragon, referring to them as &ldquo;fresh&rdquo; and &ldquo;unique&rdquo; ingredients with strong flavours that work well with the dishes he enjoys preparing. One of his favoured dishes is grilled lamb with roasted garlic and rosemary, noting that lamb doesn&rsquo;t require much and the ingredients are to enhance its natural flavour. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Nicholas Castillo, Sous Chef, Sugar Mill Restaurant<br /> <br /> Having tried his hand at a number of occupations in the past, including construction and entrepreneurship, Nicholas Castillo became drawn to the culinary arts. He says his high school culinary teacher referred to him as &ldquo;a natural&rdquo; and this inspired him to pursue the culinary arts at the HEART Culloden Vocational Training Centre before joining the team at Sandals Negril.<br /> <br /> Inspired by his mother and her cooking techniques (she makes an excellent escoveitch fish), Castillo observed carefully for many years and has since developed his own style, which includes experimenting with garlic, a favourite of his due to its pleasing aroma and taste. He continues to be inspired and motivated by the &ldquo;wows&rdquo; he receives from guests at Half Moon who find his dishes delightful.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Gabriel Villagra, Head Pastry Chef, Half Moon<br /> <br /> Gabriel Villagra has come a long way from his home in Buenos Aires, Argentina. With more than 10 years of experience in the world of pastries, Villagra was trained at the Institute Argentine Culinary in Argentina before attending the Ecole Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil, Paris, France. It was in the city of love, where he fell in love with the art of pastries and stayed in Paris to work as a pastry chef in a bakery there.<br /> <br /> Villagra says he is the only baker in his family and is proud of the path he has trod, which has brought him to Jamaica. It is here where he now shares his love for chocolate - a versatile ingredient in all sorts of desserts - and indulges in trips to Ocho Rios, his favourite place in his new home. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13566313/251417_78638_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, January 12, 2017 12:00 AM A sense of Occasion http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/A-sense-of-Occasion_86037 Two years ago, when Ronny Emborg took over the kitchen of Atera, the New American tasting restaurant in Tribeca, New York City, the Danish executive chef came, not only equipped with the expected Scandinavian and wider Nordic culinary vocabulary, but also the notion of the &lsquo;sensory kitchen&rsquo;. This translates at the table as an experience that engages the eyes, ears, nose and, indeed, the palate. This was the foundation of a highly technical medley that greeted expectant diners, who booked their place at the Cornwall restaurant of Iberostar Suites in Rose Hall, Saturday last. The 2 Michelin-starred Emborg &ndash; the most recent ambassador of the #IBEROSTARChefOnTour series &ndash; distilled the rainy evening&rsquo;s feast into his more recognisable calling cards of fruit leather, fermentation, and smoking. <br /> <br /> Thursday Life made reservations. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13565265/251632_78734_repro_w300.jpg Local Lifestyle Thursday, January 12, 2017 12:00 AM FROMAGE Brasserie Adds A Second Location @ The Marketplace http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/FROMAGE-Brasserie-Adds-A-Second-Location---The-Marketplace_85908 Thursday Food is delighted to report on expansions this week. Our restaurateurs are being bullish in this competitive market, pumping millions into their establishments to ensure customer satisfaction.<br /> <br /> Lisa and Kirk Chin, principals of Fromage, are part of the cabal of such young entrepreneurs. With Oak wine bar holding its own and Fromage a great spot for lovers of salads and excellent entr&Atilde;&copy;es, the enterprising duo has set their sights on the Marketplace for an additional outlet. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Thursday Food (TF): Where is your third location?<br /> <br /> Lisa Chin (LC): Our additional location is Marketplace, 67 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10. <br /> <br /> TF: When will the doors be opened? <br /> <br /> LC: We are hoping to be opened by January 20, 2017.<br /> <br /> TF: What is the size of the establishment?<br /> <br /> LC: The new space is 2,900 sq ft. <br /> <br /> TF: What is the seating? <br /> <br /> LC: Forty-six inside and another 32 outside. <br /> <br /> TF: What special features can patrons look forward to?<br /> <br /> LC: The ambiance, more menu options, a special takeout area and more seating space. Plus,we will be focusing heavily on our wines and cocktails especially with presentation. The atmosphere will be perfect for an outdoor lyme for wine drinkers and fits well with our Sunday Mimosa-themed brunches.<br /> <br /> TF: What special menu options can patrons look forward to?<br /> <br /> LC: Special menu options will be gourmet pizza, cuts of steak and a wider variety of choices.<br /> <br /> TF: Why have you chosen to expand?<br /> <br /> LC: We saw a need to expand our menu and space at our Hillcrest location in which we could not. <br /> <br /> And a couple other establishments, including Marketplace, had approached us last year so we took the plunge. We will have two locations to serve our customers better.<br /> <br /> TF: Who are you targeting for the Marketplace? Is the customer profile the same as the one at the Hillcrest location?<br /> <br /> LC: We are targeting our faithful customers as well as the newbies who frequent the Marketplace. We wanted to give our diners a choice when it came to either dining casually or kicking it up a notch for a special occasion or just for a change of scene.<br /> <br /> TF: What of your wine bar Oak?<br /> <br /> LC: Oak is holding its own. We always have a full house, especially on weekends. We get compliments about how great the food and cocktails are there. It&rsquo;s a great space for an intimate drink and ambiance.<br /> <br /> TF: What would you say is your competitive advantage?<br /> <br /> LC: Our competitive advantage would have to be the quality of our food. We never take shortcuts and ensure consistency.<br /> <br /> Also, our hospitality and ambiance; we get to know our customers by name. We take pride in the details. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13564709/251424_78620_repro_w300.jpg Local Lifestyle Thursday, January 12, 2017 12:00 AM QuickPlate &mdash; Delivered to your doorsteps http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/QuickPlate---Delivered-to-your-doorsteps_86067 What happened when Monique Powell got tired of only being able to order pizza at her desk? She not only conceptualised QuickPlate but you can, just like your Uber driver, track the arrival&hellip; <br /> <br /> Thursday Food (TF): What, exactly, is QuickPlate?<br /> <br /> Monique Powell (MP): QuickPlate allows people to order online from many of their favourite restaurants and have the food delivered right to their doorsteps.<br /> <br /> TF: What prompted this initiative?<br /> <br /> MP: As someone who used to frequently work late hours and would have no interest in cooking by the time I got home, I realised that if you wanted to order food for delivery you were more or less limited to pizza. There were a few courier services that would do meal pick-ups if you asked, but typically you could only pay with cash and they wouldn&rsquo;t usually be able to give you realistic delivery time estimates. That, coupled with the fact that there was no way of tracking the order or delivery person, pretty much meant that you&rsquo;d have no idea whether the food would take 45 minutes or two hours to arrive. Out of that personal frustration came the idea for QuickPlate.<br /> <br /> TF: How long has QuickPlate been in operation?<br /> <br /> MP: Almost 10 months (we launched at the end of March 2016).<br /> <br /> TF: Walk us through the ordering process<br /> <br /> MP: Ordering is done via our website at www.myquickplate.com. Once customers enter their address on our homepage, they&rsquo;re shown the list of restaurants that fall within their delivery zone. They can then choose a restaurant, select the items they want to order and then check out and pay either with a credit card (online payment) or with any Multilink debit card (swipe on delivery). The customers are then kept informed via status notifications and are also able to track the delivery rider on a map in real time. That tracking link will also provide the customers with an ETA.<br /> <br /> For further details, e-mail us at info@myquickplate.com or give us a call at 631-5533.<br /> <br /> TF: What has the response been, to date?<br /> <br /> MP: The response has been great. People love the convenience of being able to order from their favourite restaurants without having to leave where they are, and our commitment to customer service really makes a difference in terms of how people feel about using the service. To date, we&rsquo;ve served over 1,000 customers and have delivered close to 5,000 orders.<br /> <br /> TF: Are there any more initiatives for the restaurant industry?<br /> <br /> MP: We&rsquo;re continually improving and have plans to roll out some innovative in-restaurant technology later this year. We can&rsquo;t say much at this point, but we expect these innovations to lead to greater efficiency which will in turn lead to even faster delivery times and an even smoother ordering process for our customers.<br /> <br /> TF: How do you gauge customer response and experience?<br /> <br /> MP: We closely monitor the sentiment towards our brand on social media and also pay close attention to the feedback our customers send directly to us. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13564693/251762_78617_repro_w300.jpg Local Lifestyle Thursday, January 12, 2017 12:00 AM Discovering Wine http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Discovering-Wine_86116 This column began exploring the vast and ever-expanding universe of wine on Jan 10, 2008, and the topic was &ldquo;Buying wine in the supermarket.&rdquo; Since then, wine appreciation and enjoyment have seen a steady increase in Jamaica. Almost daily I receive requests for wine recommendations for regular consumption, as gifts, or for particular events; more recently many folks have expressed an interest in learning more about wine and &ldquo;getting into wine&rdquo;. Wine drinkers are divided into two main groups: Those who care about what they are drinking (the few &mdash; Group A), and those who don&rsquo;t (the many &mdash; Group B). The latter simply order red or white at the bar (most wine drinkers in Jamaica fall into this category). Many in group A began their wine journey in group B until they tasted a wine that made them hear angels sing; they took notice and reset their thinking from &ldquo;wine as a drink&rdquo; to &ldquo;wine as art&rdquo;&hellip; then the quest began.<br /> <br /> WHERE DO YOU START?<br /> <br /> Try a wider range of wines; stop drinking the same thing over and over. there are a wide range of choices available. We have come a far way since 2008; shelf space for wine has increased greatly; there are about a dozen places where one can chill out with a great glass or bottle of wine. Heck, most major gas stations now have a section for wine, and some are open 24 hours.When you are out enjoying wines, take a picture of the bottle that stood out for you and write the caption &rdquo;I like this wine because &hellip;&hellip;&rdquo; <br /> <br /> YOUR WINE EDUCATION<br /> <br /> Hundreds of books exist on the topic. The two I started with over 10 years ago were Windows on the World Complete Wine Course by Kevin Zraly and The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil. Buy one and start reading. Hundreds of websites are dedicated to wine education; www.winefolly.com is a great one for people who learn visually. Keep reading this lifestyle section in the Jamaica Observer each week, because next week I will begin a short series on the essential topics that you need to understand in order to &ldquo;get into wine&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> ESSENTIAL WINE TOPICS<br /> <br /> Here are a few of the topics that you should understand in order to begin your wine journey. More of these will be covered in the weeks and months to come: How wine is made; styles of wine; when to drink it; how to drink it; how to know what you like; the most popular grape varietals; the other grapes; where great wine is made &mdash; Old World vs New World; serving wine &mdash; stemware, temperature, storage; wine and food; collecting wine; wine and your health; the business of wine, and many, many more topics.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In wine, there is truth.&rdquo; &mdash; Pliny the Elder.<br /> <br /> Christopher Reckord - Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram@chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13565102/251834_78613_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, January 12, 2017 12:00 AM Flight of Fancy - The Art of Good Taste http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Flight-of-Fancy---The-Art-of-Good-Taste_84214 It all started with a challenge: reinterpret, reimagine and ignite. And with that the team behind The Best Dressed Chicken&rsquo;s 2017 calendar set out to create a visual experience that is sure to keep you inspired about chicken all 365 days this year. &ldquo;For us, we wanted to twin the practicality of a calendar with a strong visual appeal that would stimulate the culinary interest of persons viewing the calendar. We want people to think about enjoying The Best Dressed Chicken in different ways and to bring creativity to the presentation of every chicken dish to make it appealing to the palate. After all, we eat with our eyes and we find that more persons are emerging food enthusiasts and are no longer content with the mundane run-of-the-mill food presentation; it is about food fantasy,&rdquo; said Joan Forrest-Henry, vice-president, sales and marketing at The Best Dressed Chicken. The result is an electrifying riff on creating a meal: The Art of Good Taste. <br /> <br /> The calendar features seven pages of chicken caught in full flight, sauce, seasonings, accompaniments and all. &ldquo;We have a visual wish list, a sort of inspiration look book in the agency, which included the work of the Berlin-based duo of designer Nora Luther and photographer Pavel Becker. Together they created &ldquo;Recipes&rsquo;&rsquo; &mdash; a series of images of deconstructed meals photographed in mid-air. That was our inspiration and we are, of course, over the moon that The Best Dressed Chicken trusted our vision and allowed us to move on this idea,&rdquo; said Odette Dixon Neath, public relations director, CGR Communications, the creative agency that conceptualised and produced the calendar. It was photographed by Franz Marzouca and styled by Donna Nobel.<br /> <br /> From the cover image of Tangy Balsamic Drumsticks to November/December&rsquo;s Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Bay Leaf, each of the seven pages provides an imaginative look at chicken with generous helpings of anticipation. &ldquo;It was truly a work of art and there was keen attention to detail in making each image visually compelling. We can&rsquo;t wait to see what dishes are inspired by this calendar. Do remember to tag us when you post your own work of art on your social media pages,&rdquo; said Forrest-Henry.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I think we can check the creative box on this one. Flying food? Done. Now it&rsquo;s on to thinking about 2018, and it&rsquo;s never too early for that!&rdquo; said Dixon Neath. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13548026/248506_77475_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, January 05, 2017 12:00 AM Kingston, Jamaica makes list http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Kingston--Jamaica-makes-list_85581 The New York Times Travel feature &mdash; 52 Places To Go in 2017 &mdash; There are thousands of getaways to explore this year. Here are some ideas to get you started&hellip;<br /> <br /> &hellip; dated January 4, 2017, the feature gives a nod to a few of Thursday Life&rsquo;s fave locations, notably The Spanish Court Hotel and Chateau 7 Gourmet Jerk Centre. Indeed, there&rsquo;s a fabulous photo of the original dancehall queen Patra, the establishment&rsquo;s resident chef.<br /> <br /> The article penned by Baz Dreisinger with photos by Robert Rausch for The New York Times speaks to Kingston as a cultural destination &ldquo;not just a stopover to the beach. Stay at the Courtyard by Marriott, Kingston&rsquo;s first new hotel in over a decade, or the SoHo-style Spanish Court Hotel which has added a second pool and will open its Montego Bay branch in the summer&rdquo;. The extended paragraph also suggests that readers &ldquo;eat like an Olympic legend at Usain Bolt&rsquo;s Tracks & Records or get all things jerk at the latest hot spot Chateau 7 Gourmet Jerk Centre&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> There&rsquo;s also a nod to our music&hellip; &ldquo;Take in old-school reggae at the One World Ska and Rocksteady Music Festival, launched this November; at the newly-opened Peter Tosh Museum, honouring the former Wailer; or at one of the dub music parties debuting around the city.<br /> <br /> And if you still want beach, hop on the freshly completed North-South Highway and arrive in Ocho Rios in under two hours&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Kingston, Jamaica is listed at # 24 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13548058/250855_77564_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, January 05, 2017 12:00 AM Ones To Watch For 2017 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Ones-To-Watch-For-2017_84569 The Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett is determined to drive tourism numbers through gastronomy. Those responsible for what visitors to our shores eat and, indeed, how they perceive our cuisine must now re-evaluate the offerings of each plate. <br /> <br /> Thursday Life starts the big reveal at Sandals Resorts where the luxurious setting is rivalled only by its Five-Star Global Gourmet cuisine.<br /> <br /> Rochelle Grindley<br /> <br /> Chef de Cuisine, Sandals Inn<br /> <br /> The first female chef de cuisine<br /> <br /> Rochelle Grindley doesn&rsquo;t cook, she creates&hellip;<br /> <br /> In 2014, a 25-year-old Grindley was named Taste of Jamaica&rsquo;s Chef of the Year. <br /> <br /> As chef de cuisine at Sandals Inn, Grindley consistently wows guests with her inspired creations which showcase culinary artistry and Sandals Resorts&rsquo; Five-Star Global Gourmet cuisine at its best. <br /> <br /> Holding herself to an extremely high standard, she is adamant that everything she undertakes must bear a stamp of perfection. <br /> <br /> A recipient of several accolades, including a Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards scholarship, Grindley views all of her experiences both inside and outside the kitchen as life lessons and uses them to motivate and inspire her team.<br /> <br /> Lemar Lawrence<br /> <br /> - Senior Sous-Chef, Sandals Royal Plantation<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Figure out what lights your fire, then chase the match.&rdquo; <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> This is the quote which has inspired senior sous-chef at the Sandals Royal Plantation Lemar Lawrence, who fondly remembers when, at the age of seven, he and his grandmother baked side by side, making Jamaican delicacies such as drops, grater cakes and bread pudding for sale in his community. <br /> <br /> At fifth form he was placed at the Shaw Park Hotel for industry exposure. <br /> <br /> He joined the HEART Trust/ NTA&rsquo;s six-month, on-the-job certification programme and was placed at Couples Sans Souci. Just two months into the programme he was employed as a casual worker. The 19-year-old carried out his role with gusto and even assumed the full position of the supervisor who had recently left. He did so for many months and was soon nicknamed the &ldquo;casual supervisor&rdquo;. Reflecting, Lawrence says, &ldquo;I took my work seriously and I owned my area, so even though many may have chuckled at how comfortably I assumed the role without being remunerated for it, I was determined to garner the exposure. It was my preparation for greater things to come and it paid off in the end.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Lawrence was eventually promoted to kitchen supervisor before briefly leaving the company and then returning to hold the position as garde manger chef, leading his team and on many occasions representing his resort at myriad international and local culinary competitions, such as the JCDC Culinary Art Competition and the Chaine des Rotisseurs Culinary Competition in England. <br /> <br /> But he wanted more. International exposure was a must if he wanted to be well-rounded professionally. He migrated to England and landed a job at the Barnham Broom Hotel in Norwich, England, and later the De Vere Dunston Hall Hotel. After eight years, Lawrence returned to Jamaica and joined Beaches Ocho Rios as a sous-chef and more recently transferred to Sandals Royal Plantation, where he now serves as the resort&rsquo;s senior sous-chef. <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Juan Morrison,<br /> <br /> Executive Chef Beaches Negril<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Cooking Jamaican dishes is probably one of the most stimulating things for me.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Chilean native Juan Morrison is the executive chef at Beaches Negril Resort and Spa. His Spanish accent gets thicker when he speaks about his passion for food, especially local cuisine, and his joy becomes even more obvious when he talks about putting his unique spin on Jamaica&rsquo;s celebrated mackerel run down and popular jerked dishes. &ldquo;This cuisine has so much opportunity for gastronomic exploration and that is what fascinates me,&rdquo; he shares with<br /> <br /> Thursday Life.<br /> <br /> Growing up in a Chilean farming community, Morrison&rsquo;s love for food took root at a young age as he watched his father till the soil to grow asparagus and wheat, and rear animals that he would both sell to the community and prepare for the family table. His culinary career began at age 20, when he sought to complete his technical chef certification from the DUOC, UC in Chile. <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Ramone Jackson,<br /> <br /> Executive Sous-Chef, Sandals Negril Beach Resort And Spa<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Inspired by the wonders of a steaming bowl of his Grandma V&rsquo;s rich pepperpot soup, Ramone Jackson decided fresh out of high school that he was going to take what he calls his family&rsquo;s innate love for cooking to the next level. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Cooking runs through the veins of every generation in our household,&rdquo; he tells<br /> <br /> Thursday Life.<br /> <br /> Ever since that fateful Career Day at St Mary Technical High School. where a representative from the Runaway Bay HEART Hotel and Training Institute encouraged him to get certified in what he loved, Jackson has never looked back. The now 30-year-old holds the designation of certified executive chef from the Culinary Institute of America, after completing his three levels of Food Preparation from the Training Institute. He is currently the executive sous-chef at Sandals Negril Beach Resort and Spa, where he consistently wows guests with his delectable five-star global gourmet creations.<br /> <br /> Jackson&rsquo;s work ethic and job knowledge have earned him the respect of his colleagues; in turn he gives them the same respect. In fact, he shares that one of the highlights of 2016 was seeing his team of six chefs all medal at the Taste of Jamaica Culinary Competition; a prestigious event that saw him also winning his own bronze medal in 2014 for his innovative pork dish.<br /> <br /> Jackson&rsquo;s signature dish is the lobster brulee. He says, &ldquo;This dish fuses an all-time favourite dessert cr&egrave;me brulee with the highly sought-after lobster into a magnificently exotic entr&egrave;e.&rdquo;<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Andre Eastman<br /> <br /> &mdash; Executive Sous-Chef, Sandals Ochi Beach Resort<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Andre Eastman is the executive sous-chef plating five-star global gourmet meals at the luxury-included Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, but his love for the culinary arts had humble beginnings &mdash; in his mother&rsquo;s kitchen, by her side.<br /> <br /> Whether his mother was baking a cake or preparing a meal, he looked forward to helping her. Being in the kitchen, he says, gave him a rush that he could not resist.<br /> <br /> When he was not busy helping in the kitchen he would spend his days watching cooking shows on television, reading recipe books and observing chefs wherever he went. His passion to pursue the culinary arts bloomed in high school when his best friend introduced him to the Food and Nutrition course. After being successful in the course, Eastman decided that nothing would hold him back &mdash; he was determined to fulfil his dream. <br /> <br /> Shortly after completing his studies, he set off on a two-year internship in an Italian restaurant. This, he says, was an unforgettable experience that served to further fuel his desire to become a chef. He decided to further his studies at the Runaway Bay HEART Hotel and Training Institute, where he was successfully certified in Food Preparation. <br /> <br /> Armed with his new qualifications, Eastman set off on a journey that is now 15 years strong. Among his most memorable highlights is his 2009 bronze medal earned in the Taste of Jamaica Culinary Competition.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13558263/249590_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, January 05, 2017 3:00 AM Recipe Corner... Jessica Hylton http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Recipe-Corner----Jessica-Hylton_74572 30-MINUTE QUINOA ENCHILADA SKILLET<br /> <br /> Makes 6-8<br /> <br /> This entire quinoa skillet dish is cooked from start to finish in 30 minutes, all in ONE pot! It&rsquo;s a healthy, nutritious & flavourful family-friendly dish!<br /> <br /> Prep Time: 8 mins<br /> <br /> Cook Time: 22 mins<br /> <br /> Total Time: 30 mins<br /> <br /> Ingredients: <br /> <br /> 1 large uncooked sweet potato, peeled and cubed<br /> <br /> 5 cloves of garlic, minced<br /> <br /> 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained<br /> <br /> 2 cups vegetable broth<br /> <br /> 1 tsp ground cumin<br /> <br /> 1/2 tsp paprika<br /> <br /> 1 tsp chilli powder<br /> <br /> Salt & pepper to taste<br /> <br /> 1 cup enchilada sauce<br /> <br /> 1 15-oz can black beans, drained<br /> <br /> 1/2 cup corn kernels<br /> <br /> 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, drained<br /> <br /> 1 1/4 cups shredded cheese<br /> <br /> Optional toppings: avocados, sour cream/Greek yogurt on top, parsley for garnish<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> 1 In a 12-inch non-stick skillet with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon of oil (I used coconut oil, you can use the oil of your choice) over medium heat and add the sweet potato and garlic, stirring together with the oil to coat. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring and watching the garlic so it doesn&rsquo;t burn.<br /> <br /> 2 Add the quinoa, vegetable broth, salt, pepper, ground cumin, paprika and chilli powder and stir to combine.<br /> <br /> 3 Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the temperature to a simmer, cover, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the quinoa and the quinoa has popped and begins to look fluffy.<br /> <br /> 4 Add the enchilada sauce, black beans, corn kernels, and diced tomatoes. Stir in and cook for another 5 minutes until heated through.<br /> <br /> 5 Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the dish and cover the skillet so that the cheese melts.<br /> <br /> 6 Serve with optional garnishes such as parsley, avocados and sour cream/greek yogurt on top. Enjoy!<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Notes <br /> <br /> 1 This dish freezes well, but I would not add the cheese if I was freezing. After thawing, add the cheese when reheating the dish.<br /> <br /> 2 This dish tastes even better as leftovers!<br /> <br /> 3 Feel free to add in your own ingredients. You can add diced bell peppers, onions, anything in your fridge you need to finish!<br /> <br /> 4 This dish can easily be made vegan by not adding cheese/using dairy-free cheese.<br /> <br /> Mexican Breakfast Burritos <br /> <br /> These Mexican Breakfast Burritos are crisp on the outside and creamy and delicious on the inside. They are very freezer-friendly and an easy-to-make family favourite! <br /> <br /> Prep Time: 14 mins <br /> <br /> Cook Time: 26 mins <br /> <br /> Total Time: 40 mins <br /> <br /> Ingredients: <br /> <br /> 6 8-inch tortillas <br /> <br /> 1/2 large onion, chopped <br /> <br /> 1/2 large bell pepper, diced (I mixed red and green) <br /> <br /> 3 tablespoons mushrooms, sliced <br /> <br /> 7 eggs salt pepper dash of almond milk (per egg) <br /> <br /> 6 tablespoons salsa <br /> <br /> 6 tablespoons Greek yogurt <br /> <br /> 2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder<br /> <br /> 6 tablespoons shredded cheese<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Eggs <br /> <br /> 1 In a pan over medium heat, scramble your eggs as you always would with salt, pepper and a dash of almond milk (or regular milk if you prefer). If you make all 7 at the same time like I did, it may take a while; about 5-8 minutes. Seasonings<br /> <br /> 2 While the eggs are cooking, at the same time heat a tablespoon of oil in another pan over medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms and saut&eacute; for about 5 to 7 minutes until onions are translucent. Healthier Sour Cream <br /> <br /> 3 Mix the Greek yogurt and the garlic powder together. Set aside.<br /> <br /> Assemble<br /> <br /> 4 Spread 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt over each tortilla, leaving a bit of space around the edges. Add in the eggs, then the season mix on top, then a tablespoon of salsa. Roll the tortillas (towards you) and then fold in the two sides so that there are four sides. You can roll all of your tortillas at the same time before you heat them. <br /> <br /> 5 In a large pan over medium heat, spray with cooking spray. When the pan is hot, add all six burritos into the pan, placing on the side where the rolling of the tortilla ended. Heat for 2 minutes on that side (so it&rsquo;s sealed off) and until golden brown and crispy, and then rotate until all four sides have been heated for 2 minutes each. <br /> <br /> 6 Cut in half and serve immediately.<br /> <br /> TO FREEZE <br /> <br /> 7 After preparing the burritos, place in a freezer-safe Ziplock bag and place flat so that they freeze without touching each other. You should label the bag. I like to eat them within two weeks of when they were made. To defrost, prick with a fork a few times and microwave for three minutes, or you could prick with a fork and place in the toaster oven at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes so that it&rsquo;s still crispy. Each microwave and toaster oven is different, so test to see what time works best to defrost your burritos. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13548037/229602_77591_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, January 05, 2017 12:00 AM Foodie News http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Foodie-News_85595 Philipp Hofer, director of operations Iberostar Jamaica is once again using gastronomy to lure visitors to our shores.<br /> <br /> After the successful staging of the inaugural #IBEROSTARChefOnTour series last September which featured 2-Michelin starred executive chef Fernando Arellano. Hofer come Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 7:30 pm invites lovers of extraordinarily good cuisine to dine with 2-Michelin Star Chef Ronny Emborg.<br /> <br /> Emborg, who recently moved from Denmark to take the culinary reins at New York&rsquo;s AteraNYC Restaurant promises an unsurpassed epicurean experience.<br /> <br /> Cost: US$170 per person (includes) Welcome Cocktail, Gourmet Dinner and After Party<br /> <br /> Venue IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Rose Hall<br /> <br /> Reservations required <br /> <br /> See you there!<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13549285/250911_77577_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, January 05, 2017 12:00 AM And we&rsquo;re off&hellip;First Stop of 2017 &mdash; Frenchmen Climax http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/And-we-re-off-First-Stop-of-2017---Frenchmen-Climax_85464 Held on the fairways of the Caymanas Golf Course and billed as Jamaica&rsquo;s premier all-inclusive party, Climax! 2017 did not disappoint. Each year this event boasts the largest wine bar and wine list on the party scene, and for me it acts as a harbinger of sorts for the year in wine to come.<br /> <br /> SELECT BRANDS WINE BAR<br /> <br /> Importer/distributor Select Brands was the wine purveyor for the 2017 edition of the Frenchmen Climax, and the huge tent in the middle of the food court signalled the significance and importance of wine to this event, which draws people from near and far, locally and internationally, to start the year off with a bang. The wine bar was jam-packed from party start until close to midnight. The Select Brands wine ambassadors worked non-stop to serve patrons shouting for red, white, champagne, moscato, anything sweet, anything sparkling, Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio. <br /> <br /> WINES<br /> <br /> There were lots to choose from, with just about two dozen choices at the wine bar; no wine lover could complain about not finding something to drink from all the major wine-producing regions. A wide range of red wine choices including Malbec, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, St Emilion and red blend. White wine lovers could choose from Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and the massively popular Moscato, which was available in still or sparkling. <br /> <br /> Wine appreciation is on the upward swing in Jamaica; this was evident from the types of requests, the details in the wine selections and the wider range in ages of the people drinking wine. <br /> <br /> Happy New Year to you! Here&rsquo;s wishing you all good health, increased wealth, and much happiness. Thank you for being such loyal readers.<br /> <br /> Christopher Reckord - Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13548045/250678_77473_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, January 05, 2017 12:00 AM The 12 Chefs of Christmas Foodie Vision Board http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/The-12-Chefs-of-Christmas-Foodie-Vision-Board_84163 These days, there&rsquo;s much talk about creating vision boards, that is, a literal board of images consisting of the things you want to do in life. Fresh off the heels of making real the food wishes of winners in The Best Dressed Chicken 12 Chefs of Christmas competition, Thursday Life asks the featured chefs what their own epicurean fancies are and the responses are absolutely delicious.<br /> <br /> Daniel Schweizer, Executive Chef, <br /> <br /> Goddard Catering Group<br /> <br /> My food fantasy is to dine with Chef Gordon Ramsay at Chef Rene Redzepi&rsquo;s Noma, in Copenhagen. Nordic cuisine is fascinating and I&rsquo;d imagine that the signature 20 small plates experience must be as good as it gets in culinary adventures. Gordon Ramsay looks like the kind of chap you&rsquo;d want to have a beer with. <br /> <br /> Dream kitchen tool: An immersion circulator: an absolute must for precise temperature control when sous-vide cooking.<br /> <br /> Lorraine Fung <br /> <br /> Owner, Catering by Lorraine <br /> <br /> I&rsquo;d dine at China Grill, at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Beijing. I&rsquo;d have Duck Foie Gras Terrine with Fig Chutney, an extravagant seafood platter, and for the dessert I&rsquo;d just drink in the 360-degree view of Beijing. <br /> <br /> Dream kitchen tool: I&rsquo;d love to have a wok set from Le Creuset.<br /> <br /> Gariel Ferguson <br /> <br /> Famed master griller <br /> <br /> I&rsquo;d fly to Buenos Aires to meet Chef Francis Mallmann, the only non-European winner of the International Academy of Gastronomy&rsquo;s Grand Prix de l&rsquo;Art de la Cuisine. Watching him at work in Netflix&rsquo;s Chef&rsquo;s Table was inspiring. He&rsquo;s an expert at cooking with fire so of course I&rsquo;d want to learn more about his grilling techniques. <br /> <br /> Dream kitchen tool: A wood-burning oven, for sure!<br /> <br /> Johnoi Reid <br /> <br /> Executive Chef, The Cliff <br /> <br /> I&rsquo;d dine at Chef Gordon Ramsay&rsquo;s maze Grill in London. I hear there&rsquo;s a &pound;100 white truffle-topped pizza, but I think I&rsquo;d have the grilled octopus with harissa paste. Afterwards, I&rsquo;d walk to find a pub to for a well-cold Red Stripe Beer.<br /> <br /> Andre Fowles <br /> <br /> Sous-Chef at Miss Lily&rsquo;s in New York City <br /> <br /> I have two food fantasies. The first is to have authentic tapas in Barcelona at Quimet i Quimet, and the second is to experience Chef Daniel Humm&rsquo;s 10-course dinner at Eleven Madison Park, New York. The restaurant has three Michelin stars and Chef Humm is a James Beard winner, so my food mind would be blown away. <br /> <br /> Dream kitchen tool: Tsukasa 270mm (Japanese chef knife)<br /> <br /> Ravi Anne, Group Executive Chef at Jewel Resort <br /> <br /> I&rsquo;d love to have dinner at home in Guntur, India, with Mom and Dad. Nothing on this earth beats homemade vegetable and lentil stew with steamed rice pilaf. <br /> <br /> Dream kitchen tool: A traditional stone-cut mortar and pestle.<br /> <br /> Michele Williams<br /> <br /> Owner, Moveable Feasts <br /> <br /> Three dream dates in a single day! I&rsquo;d love to have breakfast with Wolfgang Puck in Los Angeles, and then lunch with Chef Gordon Ramsay in London, and finally I&rsquo;d share a glass of Ice wine at Inniskilin with Chef Marco Pierre White. Oh, I&rsquo;d be swept away! <br /> <br /> Dream kitchen tool: A KitchenAid mixer<br /> <br /> Haleem Card <br /> <br /> Owner, 17 Layers <br /> <br /> I&rsquo;d have the wagyu beef at Sugar Mill Restaurant in Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, and then sweet potato pudding for dessert from Edgar Wallace, the famous &ldquo;puddin&rsquo; man&rdquo; just outside St Ann&rsquo;s Bay. Just thinking about it makes me hungry. <br /> <br /> Dream kitchen tool: A big green egg smoker<br /> <br /> Charissa Henry <br /> <br /> Owner, Pink Apron <br /> <br /> I&rsquo;d eat my way around Asia and discover authentic street foods. Then I&rsquo;d snare an impossible-to-get reservation at Sukiyabashi Jiro, the three-Michelinstar sushi restaurant featured in Jiro Dreams of Sushi. <br /> <br /> Dream kitchen tool: A Vulcan oven<br /> <br /> Steve Sowa <br /> <br /> Executive Chef, Half Moon Hotel <br /> <br /> Take me to the top of the Eiffel Tower for caviar, foie gras, and chocolate souffl&eacute; by Chef Paul Bocuse! <br /> <br /> Dream kitchen tool: My dream cooking tool would be a full set of Shun professional chef&rsquo;s knives. <br /> <br /> Jacqui Tyson <br /> <br /> Owner, JTyson Events <br /> <br /> I&rsquo;d love to dine in style at a ch&acirc;teau in the south of France. I&rsquo;d have fondue, croissants, Champagne, and scallops served with immense passion by Chef Jo&euml;l Robuchon. <br /> <br /> Dream kitchen tool: A convection steam oven that is portable so I can do souffl&eacute;s on the go. Awesome!<br /> <br /> Simone Walker Barrett Lecturer at UTech&rsquo;s School of Hospitality and Tourism <br /> <br /> I&rsquo;d make two trips! First to Bangkok and one of its floating markets, and then off for pork ribs, roast chicken, coleslaw and beer at Chef Michael Symon&rsquo;s restaurant, Lola, in downtown Cleveland. <br /> <br /> Dream kitchen tool: A French door refrigerator, ice cream maker, or immersion blender. I can&rsquo;t choose!<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13533033/248422_76364_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, December 29, 2016 12:00 AM Cheers From HEDO II, Negril http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Cheers-From-HEDO-II--Negril_842372016-12-28T21-29-58 Happy New Year From Executive Chef Anthony Miller and his team at Hedonism 11, Negril who share six tasty options to usher in 2017<br /> <br /> Appleton Pickled Pineapple Chutney<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 2 lb whole pineapples cleaned and core removed<br /> <br /> 8 oz Appleton Rum<br /> <br /> 1 cup brown sugar<br /> <br /> 5 escallion bottoms<br /> <br /> 6oz rice vinegar (white wine vinegar)<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp sesame seeds<br /> <br /> 3 small cinnamon sticks<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Clean and dice pineapples to quarter of an inch size. Heat saut&eacute; pan and add brown sugar<br /> <br /> And pineapples, escallions, sesame seeds and cinnamon sticks till lightly caramelised. Deglaze with Appleton rum allow to reduce to half adding vinegar and allow to cool.<br /> <br /> Curried Shrimp with Mangos and Okra served with White Grits<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 16-20 shrimp peeled and deveined<br /> <br /> 2 oz diced mangoes<br /> <br /> 2 whole cleaned and sliced okra<br /> <br /> 2 tbsp chopped shallots or escallions<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp chopped garlic<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp fine diced carrots<br /> <br /> 1oz corn oil<br /> <br /> 2 tbsp curry powder<br /> <br /> 14oz coconut milk<br /> <br /> 4 slices Scotch bonnet peppers<br /> <br /> Salt & pepper to taste<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Add 1tbsp of oil to a hot saut&eacute; pan and cook shrimp for 30 seconds and remove from pan.<br /> <br /> Add oil, onions, garlic, and carrots, and saut&eacute; until limp in texture.<br /> <br /> Add curry powder and stir for about two minutes until lightly brown in colour.<br /> <br /> Add coconut milk, okra, diced mangoes, and Scotch bonnet peppers cooking slowly still sauce is flavourful, with a smooth consistency.<br /> <br /> Add shrimp, salt and pepper to taste<br /> <br /> Allow shrimps to cook until soft to the touch and the sauce reduces.<br /> <br /> White Polenta<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 3oz white grits<br /> <br /> 5oz vegetable stock<br /> <br /> 3 oz coconut milk<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Heat vegetable stock to simmer, add grits and stir still thick in texture for tree minutes.<br /> <br /> Add coconut milk, cook for two minute, pour in flat pan and allow for cooling. Cut into desired shape from pan and serve with curried shrimp.<br /> <br /> Jamaican Christmas Ham<br /> <br /> HONEY GLAZED HAM<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1-6lb fully-cooked, bone-in ham<br /> <br /> 11/4 cups packed dark brown sugar<br /> <br /> 1/3 cup pineapple juice<br /> <br /> 1/3 cup honey<br /> <br /> 1/3 large orange, juiced and zested<br /> <br /> 2 tbsp Dijon mustard<br /> <br /> 1/4 tsp ground cloves<br /> <br /> 3 tbsp white rum optional<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> 1. Preheat oven to 325 FAHRENHEIT (165C). Place ham in a roasting pan.<br /> <br /> 2. In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, pineapple juice, honey, orange juice, orange zest, Dijon mustard, and ground cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes on medium heat. Set aside.<br /> <br /> 3. Bake ham in preheated oven uncovered for 70 minutes. Remove ham from oven, and brush with glaze. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, brushing ham with glaze every 10 minutes. Decorate with cherries and pineapple slices.<br /> <br /> Lamb Chop Marinade<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> * 1- half rack of lamb cut into chops (New Zealand preferred)<br /> <br /> * 8 pimentos crushed in a pesto<br /> <br /> * 2 cloves of garlic sliced<br /> <br /> * Pinch- table grind black pepper<br /> <br /> * 1 sprig of thyme chopped<br /> <br /> * 1oz balsamic vinegar<br /> <br /> * 1 tbsp corn oil<br /> <br /> * salt to taste<br /> <br /> Marinate for 3-4 hours and grill.<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Place rack of lamb on broiler grill and re-season with salt and cracked black pepper. Cook on both sides, turning with tongs, to allow grill marking and your preferred temperature of choice.<br /> <br /> Allow rack to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice and arrange on plate and serve with chutney or lamb jus.<br /> <br /> Jerked Beef and Lobster Surf and Turf<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 2-6oz spiny lobster tail<br /> <br /> 2-3oz beef tenderloin<br /> <br /> 1 tsp jerk seasoning<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp olive oil<br /> <br /> Pinch salt and pepper<br /> <br /> 1 clove garlic<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Preheat oven to 3250F (1650C). Open and season lobster tail with jerk seasoning. Cook on baking sheet for 8 minutes.<br /> <br /> Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil and garlic on medium flame. Cook beef for 2 minutes on each side. Serve hot with lobster tail.<br /> <br /> Sauce<br /> <br /> Coconut Passion Fruit Sauce<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1\3 cup coconut milk<br /> <br /> 1\3 cup passion juice<br /> <br /> 2 tbsp brown sugar<br /> <br /> 1 tsp chopped onion<br /> <br /> Cornstarch to thicken (optional)<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Bring to boil first four ingredients for three minutes on medium flame. Add cornstarch to desired thickness. Serve hot drizzled over beef and lobster tail.<br /> <br /> Whole Roasted Duck with Pineapple Chutney<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1-6lb Whole Mallard Duck<br /> <br /> 1-onion large diced<br /> <br /> 1/2 lb chopped celery<br /> <br /> 1 head of garlic cloves<br /> <br /> 3 oz of honey<br /> <br /> Salt and cracked black pepper (seasoning outside of duck)<br /> <br /> 2 sticks of thyme<br /> <br /> 6 oz soy sauce<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Wash duck under running water including inside of carcass. Simmer in water with onions, garlic, thyme and celery. Add soy sauce to water and cook for 30 minutes. Remove duck from stock, place on sheet pan and season with honey, salt and cracked black pepper. Cook in oven for one hour at 340 degrees F. or until fully cooked at 150 degrees F. internal temperature.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13532996/248539_76426_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, December 29, 2016 12:00 AM Season&rsquo;s Greetings from Zest @ The Cliff in Negril http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Season-s-Greetings-from-Zest---The-Cliff-in-Negril_83709 What to prepare as the holiday celebrations continue just got easier thanks to Chefs Cindy Hutson and Johnoi Reid of The Cliff Hotel, Negril.<br /> <br /> ZEST-STYLE ROAST CHICKEN<br /> <br /> INGREDIENTS:<br /> <br /> 2 cups couscous<br /> <br /> 3/4 cup stock chicken<br /> <br /> 1/4 cup olive oil<br /> <br /> 1 brown onion, finely chopped<br /> <br /> 2 garlic cloves, crushed<br /> <br /> 1/2 tsp ground coriander<br /> <br /> 11/2 tsp ground cumin<br /> <br /> 6 (120g) fresh or dried dates, pitted, roughly chopped<br /> <br /> 1/4 cup golden raisin roughly chopped<br /> <br /> 1 cinnamon stick<br /> <br /> 1.8kg The Best Dressed Whole Chicken, rinsed, patted dry<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp honey<br /> <br /> 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon<br /> <br /> Roast pumpkin and baby spinach, to serve<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Step 1<br /> <br /> Preheat oven to 200&deg;C.<br /> <br /> Place couscous in a heatproof bowl.<br /> <br /> Heat stock in a microwave-safe jug for 1 to 2 minutes on HIGH (100%) or until boiling.<br /> <br /> Pour over couscous, stir to combine. Cover and set aside for 3 minutes. <br /> <br /> Stir with a fork to separate grains. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil and allow to cool completely.<br /> <br /> Step 2<br /> <br /> Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan over medium heat.<br /> <br /> Add onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes or until soft.<br /> <br /> Stir in coriander and 1 teaspoon cumin and cook for 1 minute.<br /> <br /> Add dates and cook for 2 minutes or until tender.<br /> <br /> Step 3<br /> <br /> Add dates mixture, Raisin and salt and pepper to couscous.<br /> <br /> Spoon couscous mixture and cinnamon stick into chicken cavity.<br /> <br /> Tie legs together with kitchen string. Place breast side up on rack in roasting pan.<br /> <br /> Whisk honey, ground cinnamon, salt and pepper, remaining cumin and oil, in a jug.<br /> <br /> Brush over chicken.<br /> <br /> Step 4<br /> <br /> Roast chicken, basting every 20 minutes with remaining honey mixture, for 1 hour or until juices run clear when thigh pierced<br /> <br /> with a skewer. Stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve with pumpkin and spinach.<br /> <br /> COUNTRY RICE PILAF<br /> <br /> INGREDIENTS:<br /> <br /> 1 cup long-grain white rice<br /> <br /> 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or butter<br /> <br /> 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp kosher or sea salt (or season to taste)<br /> <br /> 2 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, water, or a mix of water and broth<br /> <br /> 1/2 cup roasted peanuts<br /> <br /> 1 cup sliced and chopped ham<br /> <br /> 1/2 cup golden raisins<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Rinse the rice:<br /> <br /> Place the rice in a strainer and rinse it thoroughly under cool water.<br /> <br /> The water running through the rice will look milky at first, but will then become clearer<br /> <br /> and only lightly clouded.<br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s fine if there&rsquo;s still some haze in the water.<br /> <br /> There is no need to dry the rice before cooking; a bit of moisture on the rice is fine.<br /> <br /> Set the strainer of rice aside while you cook the onion.<br /> <br /> Cook the onion:<br /> <br /> Warm the olive oil or butter in the saucepan over medium heat.<br /> <br /> Add the onion and cook until the onion is translucent and soft.<br /> <br /> Toast the rice:<br /> <br /> Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat with olive oil or butter.<br /> <br /> Continue to cook, stirring often, until the tips of the rice turn translucent and the rice smells fragrant and toasted, then add the chopped ham.<br /> <br /> Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and then add peanuts and raisins.<br /> <br /> Add the broth or water and boil:<br /> <br /> Pour the broth or water and salt into the saucepan and increase the heat to medium-high.<br /> <br /> Bring to a boil.<br /> <br /> Cover and cook:<br /> <br /> As soon as the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot.<br /> <br /> Cook without lifting the lid for 15 to 18 minutes.<br /> <br /> At the end, check that the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid.<br /> <br /> If not, cover and cook another few minutes, adding a few tablespoons of water if needed.<br /> <br /> Fluff:<br /> <br /> Remove the lid and fluff the pilaf with a fork.<br /> <br /> Steam the rice:<br /> <br /> Remove the pan from heat and let it sit, covered, for another 10 to 15 minutes.<br /> <br /> Serving:<br /> <br /> Transfer to a serving bowl and serve. <br /> <br /> ROASTED LAMB RACK WITH SORREL FLOWER GLAZE<br /> <br /> Serves 4 - 6<br /> <br /> INGREDIENTS:<br /> <br /> 4 (1 3 4-lb) Frenched rack of lamb<br /> <br /> 8 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil<br /> <br /> 6 tbsp roughly chopped fresh rosemary<br /> <br /> 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme, plus 4 sprigs<br /> <br /> 20 cloves garlic, smashed<br /> <br /> Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Heat oven to 450&deg;F.<br /> <br /> Season lamb with salt and pepper.<br /> <br /> Heat oil in a 12&rdquo; cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.<br /> <br /> Add lamb fat side down and cook, using tongs to flip and sear the bottom and sides of the rack, until browned, about 10 minutes.<br /> <br /> Turn lamb fat side up in the skillet and scatter herbs over the top.<br /> <br /> Add garlic to skillet and transfer to oven.<br /> <br /> Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into centre of the meat reads 130&deg;F for medium rare, about 10 minutes.<br /> <br /> Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing into chops and serving.<br /> <br /> SORREL FLOWER GLAZE <br /> <br /> INGREDENTS:<br /> <br /> 4 cups dried sorrel<br /> <br /> 2 cups apple cider vinegar <br /> <br /> 3 cups sugar <br /> <br /> 4 cups water <br /> <br /> 1oz fresh chopped ginger <br /> <br /> 2 sticks cinnamon <br /> <br /> 4 each allspice berries <br /> <br /> 1/2 cup lemon zest<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Place all ingredients in stockpot and simmer for an hour.<br /> <br /> Put through a food mill and strain out paint. <br /> <br /> Reserve two (2) cups of the cooked flowers.<br /> <br /> Run through Cuisinart and save for chutney. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13532985/247372_76329_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, December 29, 2016 12:00 AM Foodie News... Uncorked Introducing Concierge Service http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Uncorked-Introducing-Concierge-Service_84279 Uncorked, the home of cheese, wine, bistro and specialty foods, is introducing Uncorked&rsquo;s Concierge with free delivery. Perfect timing, we reckon, for the festive season for those looking for an elegant, delicious and stress-free way to entertain. <br /> <br /> The team will help you design the perfect combinations of wine, premium spirits, cheese and hors d&rsquo;oeuvres.<br /> <br /> The plus: orders of six bottles or more are delivered.<br /> <br /> Merry Christmas!<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13532989/248609_76335_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, December 29, 2016 12:00 AM 2016 was A good year http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/2016-was-A-good-year-_84933 With so many new places to enjoy great wines, and several new food events with great wines sprinkled in here and there, I would have to say that 2016 was a good, not fantastic, year for wine in Jamaica. I reviewed the columns that we published all year and took note that in January I had three wishes for the industry: Wish 1 - Please stop serving red wines so hot; Wish 2 - Improved wait staff training; Wish 3 - Improved choices. I have noticed that some organisations are making some efforts to keep red wines in a cool place; however, there is little evidence that staff training or the access to a wider range of wines has improved. In reviewing the predictions made, we did see more folks using social media and wine apps to make decisions about what to drink. I have also noticed that younger people have increasingly been choosing wine as their drink of choice.<br /> <br /> Increased number of wine events in 2016<br /> <br /> In 2016, wine lovers had the opportunity to participate in a few exciting wine-centric events, including Go&Atilde;&raquo;t de France, a weekend of Food, Wine & Festivities at The Cliff, Negril, and the Jamaica Food & Drink Festival. Members of private organisations such as the Cha&Atilde;&reg;ne des R&Atilde;&acute;tisseurs and its wine affiliate Soci&Atilde;&copy;t&Atilde;&copy; Mondiale du Vin also hosted wine and food-pairing events throughout the year at Opa, Terra-Nova All-Suite Hotel, The Sugar Mill at Half Moon, Jamaica Inn and Moon Palace. <br /> <br /> New wine bars opened<br /> <br /> Two new wine bars were opened in Kingston this year &mdash; Oak Wine Bar & Cocktail Lounge, 8 Hillcrest Ave, and in Manor Park we saw the opening of Cellar 8 Wine Bar Bistro. The Kingston 6 favourite, Uncorked, has had some expansion with the addition of outside covered seating. Jamaica Liquor Warehouse is another place to buy wine which was also recently opened.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Usain Bolt has been appointed the new &lsquo;CEO&rsquo; of Maison Mumm<br /> <br /> It is the New Year&rsquo;s weekend and its all about celebration and &ldquo;out with the old, in with the new&rdquo;. in a recent video on sprint legend Usain Bolt&rsquo;s social media pages, it was announced that he was happy to be appointed as Mumm&rsquo;s new &lsquo;CEO&rsquo; &mdash; that&rsquo;s chief entertainment officer. I am looking forward to having a sip of Mumm Champagne in the new year with chief entertainment officer Bolt to get inspired to &ldquo;Dare. Win. Celebrate.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Thank you all for the continued support in 2016. wishing you all a Happy New Year when it comes and let&rsquo;s make 2017 our best year yet!!!<br /> <br /> Christopher Reckord - Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13532979/249771_76327_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, December 29, 2016 12:00 AM It&rsquo;s National Baking Day with Kathi Cooke&hellip; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/It-s-National-Baking-Day-with-Kathi-Cooke-_83553 Thursday Life declares today, December 22, National Baking Day. No better place to start, we reckon, than in the Second City with Kathi Cooke&hellip;<br /> <br /> I baked my first cake&hellip; in 1971 at eight years old, after receiving a mixing bowl and wooden spoon as a birthday gift.<br /> <br /> My first Christmas cake&hellip; was baked at age 11. My mom was out of the country for Christmas, and I was determined to get the holiday as close as possible to her delights. Scones were also a family tradition for Christmas Day, and I made those too. I remember how proud my brothers were! <br /> <br /> Baking is&hellip; my true passion, the most rewarding work, ever!<br /> <br /> The biggest challenge&hellip; Is scheduling the time to bake Christmas orders and the clean-up operations.<br /> <br /> My Christmas cakes are special&hellip; because they are made with love, and there is a fine flavour from the sherry/rum blend.<br /> <br /> My one must-have ingredient is&hellip; breadcrumbs, which give the cake a lovely texture.<br /> <br /> Sweetcooke Christmas Cake<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1 lb brown sugar <br /> <br /> 1 lb butter<br /> <br /> 12 eggs<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp vanilla<br /> <br /> 1 lb flour<br /> <br /> &frac12; lb finely sifted breadcrumbs<br /> <br /> 2 tsp baking powder<br /> <br /> 1 tsp salt<br /> <br /> 1 tsp mixed spice<br /> <br /> 1 tsp cinnamon powder<br /> <br /> 2 lbs finely ground mixed fruits (raisins, currants, prunes, cherries, mixed peel) soaked in rum/sherry blend.<br /> <br /> &frac12; cup crushed walnuts (optional)<br /> <br /> &frac12; lb guava or apricot jam<br /> <br /> 2 cups sherry/white rum blend<br /> <br /> 1 bottle of browning (5 oz)<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Preheat oven 300&deg; F./180&deg; C.<br /> <br /> Cream butter and sugar until mixture is not grainy.<br /> <br /> Add beaten eggs with a dash of white rum.<br /> <br /> Sift flour, breadcrumbs, baking powder, spices and salt. <br /> <br /> Combine 1 cup of sherry blend, fruit, jam, vanilla, browning and walnuts if desired. If a darker cake is desired, add browning (not a full bottle, to avoid a bitter cake).<br /> <br /> Alternately add fruit mix and flour mix to batter and combine well.<br /> <br /> Place in greased and lined baking tins, bake for approximately 1 hour, test for doneness, and if not done, test at 10-minute intervals.<br /> <br /> Cool for 30 minutes before removing from tin, then drizzle with rum/sherry blend as desired.<br /> <br /> Baker&rsquo;s tip: Store fully cooled cakes wrapped in wax paper and not directly in aluminium foil, as fruit acids react with foil. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13520043/247570_75169_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, December 22, 2016 3:00 AM Season&rsquo;s Greetings From The MoBay Convention Centre http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Season-s-Greetings-From-The-MoBay-Convention-Centre_83944 The Montego Bay Convention Centre&rsquo;s Culinary Director and Executive Chef Randie Anderson pulled no punches when throwing down for the centre&rsquo;s Festive Christmas Table, last Thursday.<br /> <br /> Anderson, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and a James Beard Foundation Scholarship winner served eight entr&eacute;es including ham and roast chicken and a tantalising duo of double chocolate mousse and double coconut mousse for dessert.<br /> <br /> Through SMG Worldwide Entertainment & Convention Venue Management, facility managers for the centre, Anderson has travelled to several convention centres in the United States of America, including McCormick Place, the largest convention centre in North America, where he shared the Jamaican flavour with thousands.<br /> <br /> With the support of industry partners Caribbean Producers Jamaica (CPJ), Rainforest Seafoods and Tai Flora, the Montego Bay Convention Centre set its executive boardroom table. Thursday Life not only got an exclusive peek, but left with a few recipes to share.<br /> <br /> Filet mignon stuffed with blue cheese and bacon with truffle cream potato, roasted vegetables and Guinness beurre blanc.<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1 x 6oz portion of fillet mignon <br /> <br /> 1 tbsp cup minced onion<br /> <br /> 2 cloves minced chopped<br /> <br /> 1/4 cup beef stock<br /> <br /> 1/4-cup Guinness <br /> <br /> 1 tsp olive oil<br /> <br /> 1/4- cup butter cubed<br /> <br /> 1 oz crumbled blue cheese<br /> <br /> 1 strip of bacon<br /> <br /> 1 sprig thyme<br /> <br /> Method<br /> <br /> Melt 1/2 the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring constantly, until onion is tender. Stir in the beef stock and Guinness scraping any onion bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, and cook until the mixture has reduced to about 1/2 cup, stir in the remaining 1/2 of the butter while the pan is off the fire. Set aside. This may also be made ahead of time, and reheated.<br /> <br /> Make a cavity in the fillet and stuff with the cheese. Use the bacon to make a belt around the fillet to secure the cheese. Fasten with a bamboo skewer. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Heat oil in a cast-iron or other oven-safe skillet over high heat. Sear steaks quickly on both sides until brown, then place the whole pan into the oven.<br /> <br /> Roast steaks in the oven for about 15 minutes for medium rare &mdash; with an internal temperature of 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). You may adjust this time to allow the steaks to finish just below your desired degree of doneness if medium is not what you prefer. Remove from the oven, and place on a baking sheet. <br /> <br /> Herb Grilled Lobster with roasted garlic potato, buttered bro-cauliflower and a sour orange Irish moss sauce.<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1 stick salted butter, at room temperature<br /> <br /> 2 tablespoons chopped chives<br /> <br /> 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon leaves<br /> <br /> 1 clove garlic, minced<br /> <br /> Dash of scotch bonnet sauce<br /> <br /> Freshly ground black pepper<br /> <br /> 2 (7-ounce) lobster tails<br /> <br /> Olive oil<br /> <br /> Salt<br /> <br /> Lemon wedges, for garnish<br /> <br /> Chive sprigs<br /> <br /> 2 bamboo skewer <br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat.<br /> <br /> In a small bowl blend butter, chives, tarragon, minced garlic, pepper sauce, and black pepper. Blend thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap for 30 minutes in refrigerator.<br /> <br /> Using kitchen shears, butterfly the lobster tails straight down the middle of the top side of the shell. Cut the meat down the center without cutting all the way through. Insert the skewer down the lobster tail so the tail stands straight. Brush the tails with olive oil and season with salt, to taste.<br /> <br /> Grill lobsters cut side down over medium high heat about 5 minutes, until the shells are bright in color. Turn the tails over and spoon a generous tablespoon of sauce over the butterflied meat. Grill for another 4 minutes, or until the lobster meat is an opaque white color.<br /> <br /> Remove lobster tails from the grill and serve with more sauce and sour orange wedges. Garnish with chive sprigs.<br /> <br /> Coconut Crusted Lion Fish with butter creamed green banana saut&Atilde;&copy;ed okra and curried mango chutney<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1/3 cup all-purpose flour <br /> <br /> 1 large egg, beaten<br /> <br /> 1/4 cup breadcrumbs<br /> <br /> 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut<br /> <br /> 6 oz raw lion fish fillet<br /> <br /> Vegetable oil <br /> <br /> Salt and pepper to taste<br /> <br /> Method<br /> <br /> Start with 3 medium bowls. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in one. Beat the egg in the second bowl. Combine breadcrumbs and coconut in the third bowl.<br /> <br /> Dip the fish into the flour, then the egg mixture, and then dredge the fish into the coconut mixing, pressing gently to adhere. Ensure fish is sufficiently coated.<br /> <br /> Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet on medium heat and fry the fillet. Flip after 2 minutes and saute the other side for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Place the finished coconut lionfish fillet on a plate lined with a paper towel. Serve with your favourite sweet chili sauce or an orange chili sauce or any chutney.<br /> <br /> Brown sugar grilled shrimp and blue mussels with potato and pumpkin duo wilted vegetables and a chili garlic sauce<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 2 tbsp brown sugar<br /> <br /> 1 1/2 tbsp soya sauce<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp olive oil<br /> <br /> Salt & pepper, to taste<br /> <br /> 1 clove garlic, finely minced<br /> <br /> 1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp and cleaned blue mussels<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp chopped cilantro<br /> <br /> Method<br /> <br /> In a small bowl, stir brown sugar, soya sauce, oil, salt, pepper and garlic together. Toss with shrimp and mussels to marinate for 30 minutes. Skewer onto kebab sticks and grill about 3 minutes per side or until completely opaque. Remove from grill and sprinkle with chopped parsley and lime juice. Serve immediately.<br /> <br /> Goat cheese stuffed, phyllo chicken with sweet potato mash, grilled squash medley and a chardonnay veloute <br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 2 skinned and deboned chicken breast halves<br /> <br /> Pinch salt and pepper<br /> <br /> 4 cups chopped fresh callaloo (leaves only)<br /> <br /> 1 medium onion, chopped<br /> <br /> 2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil<br /> <br /> 4 oz package goat cheese, softened <br /> <br /> 4 frozen phyllo pastry sheets, thawed<br /> <br /> Melted butter or margarine<br /> <br /> Method<br /> <br /> Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and flatten to 1/8-inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper, and set aside.<br /> <br /> Saut&eacute; spinach and onion in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Remove from heat, and stir in goat cheese until blended. <br /> <br /> Spoon 1/4 cup spinach mixture in centre of chicken breast half, and roll up, jellyroll fashion.<br /> <br /> Unfold phyllo sheets on a lightly floured surface.<br /> <br /> Stack 2 phyllo sheets, brushing with melted butter between sheets. Place 1 chicken roll on short side of phyllo stack; gently roll up, folding in long side.<br /> <br /> Repeat procedure with remaining pastry, melted butter, and chicken.<br /> <br /> Place rolls in a shallow pan, and brush with melted butter.<br /> <br /> Bake at 350&deg; for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. <br /> <br /> Serve on a bed of mixed greens, saut&eacute;ed vegetables or accompaniment of your choice.<br /> <br /> Braised Pimento Pickled Pork Shoulder with Gingered Sweet Potato and steamed vegetable medley <br /> <br /> Ingredients<br /> <br /> 2 tbsp pimento seeds crushed<br /> <br /> 2 tbsp cumin seeds <br /> <br /> One 2-pound boneless pork shoulder <br /> <br /> salt and pepper to taste<br /> <br /> Olive oil<br /> <br /> 1 large onion, chopped<br /> <br /> 2 large scotch bonnet pepper<br /> <br /> 1 head garlic, smashed and finely chopped<br /> <br /> 2 -inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated<br /> <br /> 1 cup pimento liquor<br /> <br /> 1/4 cup Dijon mustard<br /> <br /> 1 bundle fresh thyme<br /> <br /> 1 bunch chopped escallion<br /> <br /> 3 to 4 cups chicken stock<br /> <br /> 1 cup cane vinegar<br /> <br /> 1/2 cup brown sugar<br /> <br /> Method<br /> <br /> Using a spice grinder, grind the pimento and cumin seeds until they are a fine powder.<br /> <br /> Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.<br /> <br /> Sprinkle the pork shoulder with the ground spices and salt, then tie each piece so they cook evenly.<br /> <br /> Coat a Dutch pot with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Brown the pork on all sides. Remove the pork from the pan and reserve. <br /> <br /> Lower the heat to medium and toss in the onion and season with salt and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper. Cook the onion until it is soft and very aromatic, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic brown sugar, cane vinegar and ginger and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.<br /> <br /> Add the wine and reduce by half. Stir in the mustard and add the thyme. Return the pork to the Dutch pot and add stock to the pan until it comes halfway up the side of the pork. Add salt if needed. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover and put the Dutch pot in the preheated oven.<br /> <br /> After 1 hour, turn the pork over and add more liquid to the pan if the liquid level has gone down. Cover and return to the oven for 1 hour.<br /> <br /> Turn the pork back over and return to the oven without the lid and cook for 45 more minutes. The liquid should concentrate.<br /> <br /> Remove the pan from the oven, remove the pork and reserve for 15 minutes, tented with aluminum foil. Skim any excess fat from the pan and reduce the pan juices, if needed.<br /> <br /> Slice the pork and serve with accompaniments of your choice<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Baked Grey Snapper with tomato and olive tapenade served with ripe breadfruit and roasted bell peppers.<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 2 tbsp olive oil<br /> <br /> 1 medium onion, chopped<br /> <br /> 2 cloves garlic, minced<br /> <br /> 1 tsp oregano<br /> <br /> 1 can diced tomatoes with juice<br /> <br /> 2 tbsp chopped black olive<br /> <br /> 4 oz grey snapper fillets<br /> <br /> Salt and pepper to taste<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Garnish:<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese<br /> <br /> 1/4 cup minced parsley<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Method<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Heat oven to 425 degrees Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and oregano; saut&Atilde;&copy; 2 minutes. Add diced tomatoes with juice and black olives; bring to a boil. Remove from heat.<br /> <br /> Place fish in prepared baking dish; season both sides with salt and pepper.<br /> <br /> Spoon tomato mixture over fish. <br /> <br /> Bake 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove from oven; sprinkle with feta and parsley. Serve.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Roasted Duck Breast with Coconut Risotto, Spinach and Papaya Chutney<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br /> 1 duck breast<br /> <br /> 1 sprig of thyme<br /> <br /> 8 crushed pimento <br /> <br /> 3 oz butter<br /> <br /> 1 large onion<br /> <br /> Olive oil<br /> <br /> 1 whole turn (half ripe) papaya <br /> <br /> 2 oz brown sugar<br /> <br /> Red wine <br /> <br /> Duck or chicken stock<br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br /> For the sauce, saut&eacute; the onion in the oil for 5 minutes or until softened but not coloured. Add the papaya and sugar, stirring for a few minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Add the red wine and stock, then simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly thickened. Keep warm or leave at room temperature for up to a day before reheating to serve.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/gas 4. Score the skin of the duck breasts with a sharp knife and season well with salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick frying pan and place the duck breasts in, skin-side down. Saute for 6-7 minutes, then turn and add the thyme, pimento and butter. <br /> <br /> Allow this to melt, basting the duck with the juices, then transfer everything to a small roasting tin and finish in the oven for 5-6 minutes for pink or 10-12 minutes for well done.<br /> <br /> When the duck is ready, baste again with the juices, then rest for 5 minutes while you finish everything else.<br /> <br /> To serve, thinly slice each duck breast on a chopping board. Arrange on each plate along with a spoon of the creamed potatoes, some of the papaya sauce and the buttered spinach or any accompaniment of your choice. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13520130/247949_75230_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, December 22, 2016 3:00 AM National Baking Day with Veronica &lsquo;Winnie&rsquo; Allen&hellip; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/National-Baking-Day---_83859 I baked my first cake&hellip; as a child. I was always around the kitchen when my mother was baking. When she was baking the Christmas cake I was there, assisting with rubbing the butter and the sugar. <br /> <br /> I bake because&hellip; I love it! As a young adult, baking Christmas cakes gave me the first opportunity in entrepreneurship to make my own money for my Christmas purchases. <br /> <br /> The biggest challenge&hellip; I am always worried about the consistency of the product, in terms of taste, appearance and general quality of the finished product. I find it challenging to better my last product.<br /> <br /> My cakes are special because&hellip; of the richness of the taste. I do not skimp on my ingredients.<br /> <br /> My one must-have ingredient is&hellip; grated nutmeg.<br /> <br /> Thursday Life soon discovered that Winnie bakes according to feel and taste so there are, alas, no measurements. <br /> <br /> You will need...<br /> <br /> Ingredients: <br /> <br /> Flour<br /> <br /> Sugar<br /> <br /> Baking powder<br /> <br /> Eggs <br /> <br /> Butter<br /> <br /> Mixed fruits and spices: currants, raisins, prunes, citron, <br /> <br /> nutmeg, vanilla, almond, Red Label wine (and white overproof rum to soak fruits), rose water, browning, lemon zest, pinch of salt <br /> <br /> Method<br /> <br /> Rub sugar and butter until smooth, after which you add the eggs. Then add the dry product. Fold in fruits and spices. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13520051/247837_75177_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, December 22, 2016 3:00 AM Thursday Life&rsquo;s National Baking Day with Leanne Cooke-Popkin for Cakes By Noida http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/food/Thursday-Life---s-National-Baking-Day-continues-with----------_83741 I have been baking&hellip; If we can count when you sit on the counter and lick the batter, it would be 35 years! This has been a family business starting from my paternal grandmother, then my mom and now me. But I officially started putting the batter in the pans about 20 years now. <br /> <br /> I baked my first Christmas cake&hellip; I can hardly remember the exact date as I grew up in a baking environment. So the formalities have been obscured somewhat.<br /> <br /> I bake because&hellip; It is second nature. When you grow up in the kitchen, it becomes your place of contentment. <br /> <br /> The most challenging aspect of Christmas baking is&hellip; the consistency of ingredients. I have learnt over the years to start sourcing early, as they (the ingredients) get scarce and the price increases in the Christmas season.<br /> <br /> What makes my Christmas cakes so special&hellip; Maybe my clients would be better at answering this! But I hope it would be the fusion of ingredients and smoothness in texture.<br /> <br /> My must-have Christmas cake ingredient is&hellip; two things come to mind automatically. Red Label Wine and Eve browning, but you said one, so I will choose the former.<br /> <br /> Jamaican Christmas Cake<br /> <br /> Yields two 9&rdquo; round cakes.<br /> <br /> Ingredients:<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> 1 lb butter <br /> <br /> &frac12; lb brown sugar<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp browning<br /> <br /> 2 tsp vanilla<br /> <br /> 1 tsp almond flavouring<br /> <br /> 1 tsp lime or orange rind<br /> <br /> 8 eggs<br /> <br /> 8 cups pre-soaked fruits (prunes, raisins, cherries, etc in white rum and wine)<br /> <br /> 6 oz breadcrumbs<br /> <br /> 1 lb baking flour<br /> <br /> 6 tsp baking powder<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp mixed spice <br /> <br /> 1 tsp nutmeg<br /> <br /> 1 cup Brandy<br /> <br /> 1 cup wine <br /> <br /> &frac12; cup walnuts (optional)<br /> <br /> 1 tbsp molasses<br /> <br />  <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Method:<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Prepare tins by greasing bottom and sides with shortening and dusting with flour.<br /> <br /> In a bowl sift flour and add breadcrumbs, baking powder, mixed spice and nutmeg.<br /> <br /> Beat butter, sugar and molasses until light and fluffy. <br /> <br /> Mix in browning, vanilla, almond flavouring and rind.<br /> <br /> Beat in eggs one at a time, making sure they are well blended. Add pre-soaked fruits.<br /> <br /> Add flour mixture alternately with brandy and wine.<br /> <br /> Pour batter into prepared baking tins. <br /> <br /> Bake for approximately 2 hours at 250 degrees. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13520048/248180_75173_repro_w300.jpg Local Food Thursday, December 22, 2016 3:00 AM